Talk about a game with convoluted history! It was once thought that Pizza Chef, along with Immies and Aggies, Spinning Fireball, and A Mysterious Thief, were all original games developed by a PAL company called Suntek. However after much research it has been determined that these are in fact original NTSC games released by two different companies called Zimag and Vidco, which may have been related somehow. Unlike the other three games however, Suntek never released Pizza Chef themselves. Instead it was released in Brazil by a pirate outfit called CCE.
As someone on AtariAge once put it, Pizza Chef is like playing SwordQuest with an Italian cook. If that description alone doesn't scare you off, then you may just have the will power to endure this cruel and unusual torture device disguised as a video game. Perhaps the reason that Pizza Chef was never released in the US was because it violated some international treaty on torture? Either that or it was because the game just plain sucked!
At its heart, Pizza Chef a memory/guessing game combined with a poorly programmed action game. The goal of the game is to correctly match up the proper kitchen utensil/food combination with the correct cooking pot before time expires. The overall concept has promise, but the execution is downright terrible. The game is separated into five different rooms: the dining room, the refrigerator, the kitchen, the storage room, and the trash room. Each room has it's own unique purpose and goal.
The Dining Room
The dining room is really just a 'connector' to the other four rooms. Here you must avoid clumsy waiters who are attempting to serve food to non-existent customers (I guess even they didn't want to stick around for this game). In the four corners are colored squares which represent the four other rooms. The blue square goes to the refrigerator, the purple square goes to the kitchen, the brown square goes to the storage room, while the green square goes to the trash room. Simply move your chef into the square that represents the room you wish to go to and you're off. If a waiter touches your chef you will lose some precious time.
The Storage Room
The goal of this room is to pick up a kitchen utensil (a cup, cleaver, or bowl). In this room you must avoid giant rats while you try and pick up an item (shouldn't the health department have shut this place down already?). To pick up an item simply touch it and press the button and it will be added to your inventory (displayed at the bottom of the screen). If a rat touches you, you will lose some time and your item (not to mention probably get some disease). Once you have your cooking utensil, you can exit the room through the square at the top right of the screen.
In this room you must correctly match the cooking utensil you have picked up with the correct food item. Each of the food items corresponds to one of the utensils, so you must keep trying to pick one up until you've made a match. Each food item is color coded to match a specific pot so make sure you're picking up the correct one. Once you've correctly guessed the proper combination, you will pick up the food item and you can exit this screen. Occasionally the correct food item will not be there, and you will have to exit and re-enter the screen until it appears. This room also contains strange blue patches, which I assume are ice or water. As with the waiters and the rats, avoid them or you will lose time.
Once you have your correct utensil/food combination your must make your way to the kitchen and try your luck. The goal of this screen is to correctly guess which pot (represented by squares on the far right of the room) matches your utensil/food combination. To do this, simply walk next to a square and press the fire button. If you have correctly guessed the right pot, it will disappear and you can begin working on the next one. Each pot is color coded to a specific food item (yellow for yellow, gray for gray, etc.), so make sure you've picked the proper pot before pressing the fire button. If you chose the wrong pot you will be sent to the trash room to dispose of your food item. Once you make all eight pots disappear, move over to the ovens on the left side of the screen and press the fire button to bake your pizza and win the game. On the higher game variations there are more colors to match, making your task extra difficult.
The Trash Room
This is the most annoying room of them all, and is your punishment for guessing incorrectly. Here you must make your way down the steps and throw your food out in the trash can at the bottom. However you cannot simply walk down the steps in this game (no that would be too easy), instead you must move to the edge of the step and press the fire button to move down to the next step. If you move too close to the edge and don't press the fire button, your chef will fall and land on his head (which is somewhat amusing). After you've thrown out your food, you must walk back up the stairs in the same manner. This screen is frustratingly difficult and seems only to be designed for torture. Unfortunately you'll end up here a lot, as correctly guessing the proper pot on your first few tries is nearly impossible.
As I mentioned earlier, the overall concept behind Pizza Chef isn't bad, but the game is so poorly programmed it isn't very fun. The controls are extremely poor and make an already bad game extremely frustrating (the stair screen is a perfect example). While Pizza Chef's graphics aren't too bad (although there is alot of flicker), there are several areas in the game where one simply cannot tell what the graphics are supposed to represent (such as the large squares representing the ovens in the kitchen). The in game 'music' is not only obnoxious, but it starts and stops with your characters movement. This becomes annoying very quickly.
Overall Pizza Chef is a fine example of a good idea gone horribly wrong. With a little work (ok alot of work), Pizza Chef might have been turned into a sellable game. However in its current form, it's easy to see why Zimag didn't release this bomb on the US public. However it appears that CCE wasn't as discriminating in their tastes and released it on a poor unsuspecting Brazilian public.